Prime minister believes Japan will halt U.S. beef imports

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Friday that Japan would completely halt U.S. beef imports after a recent shipment was found to possibly contain material considered at risk for mad cow disease. "This is a pity given that imports had just resumed," Koizumi told reporters. "I received the agriculture minister's report with his recommendation that the imports be halted and I think it is a good idea".

Mad cow disease is the common name for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, a degenerative nerve disease in cattle that is linked to a rare but fatal nerve disorder in humans, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, reports the AP.

D.M.